|Número de publicación||US7072742 B1|
|Tipo de publicación||Concesión|
|Número de solicitud||US 10/688,391|
|Fecha de publicación||4 Jul 2006|
|Fecha de presentación||17 Oct 2003|
|Fecha de prioridad||17 Oct 2003|
|Número de publicación||10688391, 688391, US 7072742 B1, US 7072742B1, US-B1-7072742, US7072742 B1, US7072742B1|
|Inventores||Louis Bellafiore, James Sanderson|
|Cesionario original||Technikrom, Inc.|
|Exportar cita||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Citas de patentes (27), Citada por (7), Clasificaciones (5), Eventos legales (5)|
|Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to liquid blending systems and, in particular, to a module that blends two or more liquids together with high accuracy so that solutions having the desired concentrations of the components and/or other characteristics, such as pH, viscosity or optical density, etc., are created and a method for retrofitting industrial equipment and systems with the module to improve system performance.
The combining of two or more liquids together to a desired concentration and/or other characteristics, such as pH, viscosity or optical density, etc., of the constituent liquids is fundamental to many industrial processes and commercial products. This combining of liquids may be referred to as blending and is common in many industrial segments including pharmaceutical products, biopharmaceutical products, food and beverage processing products, household products, personal care products, petroleum products, chemical products and many other general industrial liquid products. In addition, blending systems find use in the field of liquid chromatography where blended liquids are provided to chromatography columns to permit the separation of mixtures for analysis or for purification purposes.
On site blending systems provide many advantages over purchasing pre-mixed chemicals. By using a blending system, a single barrel or feedstock concentrate produces many times its volume in diluted solution, depending on the desired concentration of the dilution. Thus, a single feedstock concentrate, used to produce the equivalent of many feedstocks of dilute liquid via a blending system, greatly reduces facility costs associated with fabrication of large tanks, floor space required, validation and quality control costs to confirm makeup, spoilage and disposal costs of non-compliant out of date or unused blended solutions. Freight costs associated with chemical delivery are also greatly reduced. In addition, onsite dilution and blending increases the variety of chemical concentrations and mixtures that are immediately available, without requiring a corresponding increase in the number of feedstocks and chemicals that must be purchased, thereby reducing facility and operating costs and providing the logistical and administrative advantage of reduced inventory.
High accuracy in terms of concentration for blending systems providing liquids to liquid chromatography systems is vital. In addition, quality control concerns favor increased blending accuracy for liquids that are provided to industrial processes and that are used to create commercial products. Indeed, Six Sigma quality control principles dictate that lower variability in an industrial process results in a greater percentage of higher quality products being produced by the industrial process.
It is well known, however, that it is common for different levels of a large feedstock tank filled with a solution to have different proportionate mixtures of the constituent liquids. Gradients exist in large feedstocks in terms of both concentration and temperature. As a result, liquid provided from the feedstock will vary in terms of concentration posing challenges for accurate analysis, quality control analysis, as well as uniform delivery to a process. Feedstock solvents, commercially supplied, have variations in actual concentration from batch to batch as well as innate impurities preventing 100% pure concentrations from being available in bulk supply.
The system of
Graph 16 of
Graph 18 in
As illustrated at 22 in
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a blending system that is capable of blending and delivering liquids having precise concentrations of constituents in a highly reproducible fashion. Multiple concentrates can be connected to a single blending system to allow various dilutions.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a compact blending system that may be used to retrofit industrial systems, whether small scale bench top units or large scale manufacturing systems.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a method for retrofitting industrial processes, including continuous processes such as SMB (Simulated Moving Bed).
The present invention is directed to an accurate blending module for retrofitting existing laboratory or industrial systems or use as a standalone device and a method of use. The accurate blending module includes a proportioning submodule adapted to receive and merge at least two liquid feeds. A blending submodule communicates with the proportioning submodule and blends the merged liquid stream. A detection submodule communicates with the blending submodule so that a blended liquid stream from the blending submodule flows therethrough. The detection submodule detects a composition of the blended liquid stream and communicates it to a controller. The controller is also in communication with the proportioning submodule and adjusts the proportioning submodule based upon the detected composition so that a desired composition is provided by the accurate blending module. The proportioning, blending and detection submodules are integrated together, resulting in the accurate blending module.
The accurate blending module also includes a purge valve in communication with the outlet of the detection submodule that communicates with the controller so that the controller opens the purge valve when the detected composition exceeds a predetermined tolerance. The blending submodule may optionally include a pump to blend the liquid feeds and delivers the merged stream to the detection submodule.
The following detailed description of embodiments of the invention, taken in conjunction with the appended claims and accompanying drawings, provide a more complete understanding of the nature and scope of the invention.
With reference to
Due to the precision blending provided by the module 24, feedstocks 10 a and 10 b are no longer required as the concentrations provided thereby may be obtained instead by blending buffer from feedstock 10 c and water from feedstock 12. As illustrated by the liquid chromatography results illustrated at 34, the arrangement of
The details of an embodiment of the accurate blending module, indicated in general at 24, are presented in
The sensor (57 in
Two customer-supplied liquid feeds 44 a and 44 b are connected to the proportioning submodule 38. It should be noted that while two feeds are illustrated, additional feeds are within the scope of the present invention. The proportioning submodule continuously merges the two separate incoming liquid streams (such as a salt concentrate solution and purified water) with valving into one stream. As illustrated in
The merged liquid stream 48 exiting the proportioning submodule 38 is mixed within a fixed volume (50 in
The blended liquid stream 56 exiting the blending submodule 52 encounters the detection submodule 42. An ionic (e.g. conductivity or pH for a salt solution) or spectral (e.g. near-infrared or ultraviolet for an alcohol or other solvent solution) measurement of the blend, as appropriate, is taken by an in-line sensor, indicated at 57 in
As indicated in
The outputted signal from the sensor 57 (
As indicated in
The precisely mixed merged stream, indicated at 58 in
As an example, after a calibration of sensor response with appropriate buffer and water, a user has purified water connected to one inlet of the module and 1M NaCl solution connected to the second inlet of the module. The user specifies the SP as 0.1M NaCl. The module's software will adjust the behavior of the blending valves such that the measured PV detected by, in this case, the conductivity sensor, shall be as close to the reading corresponding to 0.1M NaCl as possible.
As illustrated in
The module 24 may optionally include a pump, illustrated at 86 in
As described previously, the liquid exiting the detection submodule travels through either valve 62 or 63. If travel is through the latter valve, the liquid can be delivered to an existing process, or system, as indicated in general at 96, through line 98. The stream traveling through line 98 corresponds to the precisely mixed stream 58 in
The accurate blending module integrates with the existing process in ways ranging from a simple relay switch closure which defines the module's start/stop points, to a complete renovation of any existing controller hardware and software permitting replacement with or installation of latest version hardware and software for optimized performance. For a simple switch, or contact closure, the existing system must send a digital output to the module that signals the module to initiate its blending procedure, or stop its blending procedure. For a complete hardware and software replacement, the existing controller hardware, such as a programmable logic controller, is removed and replaced with updated hardware, software and PC.
The module is built from various components, such as valves, pumps, and sensors that are sized and specified for use with the existing system and/or the processes for which it will be used.
The present invention thus is a portable closed-system unit that upgrades an existing pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical/nutraceutical/fine chemical/industrial process pumping system to permit precise and reproducible buffer and/or solvent blends to be delivered from the existing system. These precise buffer and/or solvent blends can be leveraged by the equipment user to greatly enhance their particular biopharmaceutical/nutraceutical/fine chemical/industrial process of interest. In addition, the present invention offers a standalone blending system that may provide liquids containing constituents at precise concentration levels and/or desired characteristics such as pH, viscosity or optical density, etc., to any process or process equipment that may benefit from reduced variability and increased reproducibility and robustness.
While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined by the appended claims.
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|Clasificación de EE.UU.||700/265|
|Clasificación internacional||G05B21/00, G05D21/02|
|6 Feb 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TECHNIKROM, INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BELLAFIORE, LOUIS;SANDERSON, JAMES;REEL/FRAME:014965/0400;SIGNING DATES FROM 20031114 TO 20031126
|20 Mar 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ASAHI KASEI TECHNIKROM, INC. F/K/A ASAHI KASEI BIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TECHNIKROM, INC.;REEL/FRAME:022427/0221
Effective date: 20090227
|22 Dic 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|10 Feb 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ASAHI KASEI BIOPROCESS, INC.,ILLINOIS
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:ASAHI KASEI TECHNIKROM, INC.;REEL/FRAME:023937/0414
Effective date: 20091221
Owner name: ASAHI KASEI BIOPROCESS, INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:ASAHI KASEI TECHNIKROM, INC.;REEL/FRAME:023937/0414
Effective date: 20091221
|31 Dic 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8